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I could have died waiting.   

In habits, Life Essays, quirks, writing on January 26, 2015 at 6:59 am

There were two things I remember wanting so badly I thought I would die when I was a little girl. The first was in the fifth grade. I wanted a tape recorder. I had to have it in order to tape the music from each week’s episode of The Partridge Family. And I got it, for Christmas. No it wasn’t the best way to get music, but I was ten okay, and yes in the background you could hear my little brother making car noises and the sound of my mother vacuuming, but I didn’t care, I could record music.

A year later my sixth grade class had a two week typing mini course, it was followed by two weeks of Gregg shorthand. I wanted to type so badly I could die. I loved books, I loved to read, but I took most of my allowance to the student store to buy pencils and pads to write on. Typing became an obsession with me. We didn’t have a typewriter at home, but I practiced on a cardboard keyboard the school had provided. I told everyone I knew I was learning to type, and when Rosalie, our neighbor across the street found out, she offered to loan me her portable typewriter to use for practice. I typed all of my homework, stories from books, pages from the dictionary. I was painfully slow, but I didn’t care. When I was watching television, or sitting in the car listening to my parents talk, I would ‘type’ whatever was being said on my lap, on the carpet, or the back of the car seat. I still do this, usually on my leg or with my hands in my pockets… sometimes on Hunky Hubby’s leg or arm, I don’t mean to do it, it’s become a habit, one of my charming little quirks.WP_20150124_14_11_12_Pro

Anyway, it was 1973 and I was eleven. I wanted a typewriter more than I wanted to meet Bobby Sherman (who I was sure would wait for me and marry me someday when I grew up). It was after Christmas, months until my birthday and I knew I would die if I didn’t get a typewriter. I know I was a weird kid, but hey back then a tablet was, well… a pad of paper and you wrote on it with pencils or ink pens, so a typewriter was cool. Okay, it probably wasn’t cool even then, but we had no sidewalks for skateboarding, and my parents didn’t think girls should play the drums.

I knew it would take me forever to save enough for a typewriter with my allowance of 50 cents a week, but I started saving anyway. About that time a babysitting job fell in my lap. It was my first regular job, babysitting after school every day. I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to play!

So I saved every dollar I earned. This was easier back then. I lived in a small town with no stores, no fast food restaurants, we didn’t have eBay or Etsy so I stuffed my money in my little pink jewelry box with the dancing ballerina and watched it grow. When the lid would no longer shut on my jewelry box I took it downstairs to my mother who was sitting on our gold crushed velvet sofa, which rested on the avocado green carpet, that matched the avocado green flocked gold wallpaper in the dining room, are you sensing a theme here? And, I asked to go shopping. We went to Sears. I bought an avocado green Sears Newport. I think I paid sixty dollars for it, but who knows, I mean I was eleven at the time, how do you expect me to remember what I paid for a typewriter.

I typed every story, poem, report and speech that I wrote through middle school and high school on that typewriter. I have no idea when I got rid of it, or how. Perhaps it was at a garage sale when we moved my senior year of high school. It could have been when I saved enough money to buy that brand new electric typewriter with automatic correction. And although I’ve thought of it fleetingly over the years, when I got my Olivetti typewriter with the daisy wheel and five hundred character memory, and a couple of years later when I got my first computer a 286 that the salesman assured me I’d never need to replace, I’ve always thought of it fondly.

So the point of my story is that although today I have a PC, laptop and a tablet, not the kind that’s an actual pad filled with paper, the kind that uses Wi-Fi, I missed my old typewriter. I wanted to feel the excitement I felt transcribing my handwriting from those notepads onto that first manual typewriter, how real it made the words on paper feel. Every now and then I search the internet to see if I can find it, or at least one like it. Last week I struck gold. There were two listed on one well known site for $165 and$250 dollars, and I was ready to pony up. I couldn’t believe I’d found an avocado green Sears Newport typewriter. Hunky Hubby even agreed it could be my Valentine gift. But before I clicked add to cart, I checked another site just for the heck of it, and found my typewriter for $15.99 plus shipping of course, in the last hours of the auction. In all there were three of them on the second site, all avocado green under $50 and two of the auctions were ready to end. There were no bids on any of them, which surprised me, because who wouldn’t want a vintage early 1970’s avocado green typewriter, right? I waited patiently until just before the auction was over, swooped in and placed my bid, and won my typewriter for $15.99 (plus shipping of course).

I’ve saved money patiently, and impatiently for many things over the years, but that typewriter is the first thing I wanted so badly I thought I would die waiting to get it. I could write without it, and did, but with it my writing felt real.

It was delivered on Saturday. Right now it’s sitting on my dining table. It blends in pretty well with my sage green and cream décor. Every time I walk by it, it makes me smile. It also reminds me to put my behind in a chair and write, because that’s obviously what I’ve always wanted to do.

Do you remember the first thing you wanted so badly you were willing to save every dollar for? That you had to have it? How old were you? Do you still have it now? I’d love to hear your stories…WP_20150124_14_23_56_Pro

Just a note, if you click on Bobby Sherman’s name you can see photos and listen to the music I listened to in the 1970’s. I’ll be doing this all day today!

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Words on Wednesday- When the Words Won’t Come

In books, writing on February 12, 2014 at 8:58 am

Today’s post was inspired by a question asked on the facebook page of O.C. Writers. Yesterday, Ryan Stansifer asked the group, “When the rest of your life has drained you so badly the mere thought of writing is exhausting, what do you do to get those word counts done?”

It’s a simple question, but I had to seriously think about it. Not being able to get words on paper isn’t usually a problem for me, but as I told you a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been separated from my manuscript for so long, that I’ve had trouble getting back in touch with my characters.

Some writer’s take a break from their manuscript, and when you have been living in your book for too long, a break from your work can give you a fresh perspective. I’ve done this before, but this time…..a break is what caused the problem.

Writer’s with a deadline (or very disciplined writers) often force themselves to put their butt in their chair and put down a certain number of words. This is a great technique, sometimes it results in pages of ‘junk’, but even that can get you back in the flow, and you can always go back and cut or edit what you don’t like later.

One writer suggested working on a new project, a short story to get your creative juices flowing again and give you the satisfaction of completing something. I haven’t tried this technique yet, I never let myself stray from the project I’m on until it’s completed. I’m always afraid I won’t come back to finish. This could be the best advice for me, just because I’ve resisted it. You guys will make sure I finish my current novel if I go this way won’t you?

What I usually do, and this was the advice I shared with O.C. Writers, is read a good book. Preferably, one written by an author that I know personally. A good book always inspires me and makes me want to write. When it’s someone I know, it makes the possibility of having my own book published more real, more attainable, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have met some inspiring writers and have some great mentors on this journey.

But there is one thing I haven’t done, that just makes sense. I haven’t read my own manuscript through from cover to cover like a reader. I

thought this would be the first thing I did when I got back to work on my book, but the minute I picked up the manuscript I started line editing. Not my intent, but my reflex, I had to edit.

So, my goal today and tomorrow is to read my manuscript like a reader, not a writer. I’m going to download it to my kindle, so that I’m not tempted to edit, and read what I’ve written from cover to cover. I’ll let you know next Wednesday how this worked out.

Thank you Ryan Stansifer for asking the question, and O.C. Writers for all of the inspiration.

 

What do you do when you need a gentle push….or swift kick….to get yourself back on track?

Words on Wednesday-Hunky Hubby & Tari’s Excellent (but Soggy) Adventure

In Life Essays, quirks, writing on February 5, 2014 at 7:37 am

“It Never Rains in Southern California…it pours, man it pours.” Albert Hammond

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On Sunday there was a torrential downpour here in Los Angeles. No I don’t mean a wimpy little California sprinkle. I mean a heavy rain, the kind that floods roads and causes landslides (it’s true, part of California on the little peninsula we live on slipped into the ocean on Sunday!) yep, a real winter rainstorm. But I wanted to go to the Los Angeles Romance Authors Chapter of RWA’s monthly meeting to hear Jennifer Miller, a.k.a. Jennifer Haymore of the not just your typical author pseudonym split personality, but editor/author split personality…speak. Now, as I said, I live on a peninsula on the farthest south side of Los Angeles, and LARARWA meets in ‘like ya know’ The Valley. Which you may or may not know is north of Los Angeles.

So, my hunky husband, Paul doesn’t even hesitate, just says “Let’s go!” and ushers me to the car. The rain starts out as a ‘wimpy little California sprinkle,’ but as we hit the 110 Freeway, just minutes from our house it grows heavy…and everyone knows that we California drivers (hunky husband excluded) don’t know how to drive in the rain. Additionally, anyone who knows me well, okay who knows me for even a few minutes, is likely to know that not only am I a defensive (read paranoid) driver, but I also am a defensive (still read paranoid) passenger, and I’m not fun to be with in a car…not on surface streets, worse on the freeway, and even worse on a freeway driving through Los Angeles in a TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR. Did I mention it was raining heavily?

Since we haven’t gotten very far yet I tell my wonderful hunky hubby, who is willing to risk life and limb, not to mention 45+ minutes in a car in a Torrential Downpour (really, I’m not exaggerating a bit) on the 110 Freeway with his slightly (read massively) paranoid wife, just to get me to a romance writer’s meeting…hmm, I forget what I was saying…oh yeah! I tell my hunky husband, “Maybe we should just turn around, go home and curl up on the sofa and watch old movies.”

“Not a chance,” he says in his deepest, ‘trust me, I’m a man’ voice. And so we continue to Studio City…where as we arrive at our destination in the Torrential Downpour (I know, but really it was…it made the news!) the car starts giving us trouble. We park the car to attend the meeting, hoping the rain will let up by the time the meeting is over…and my loving, supportive and of course hunky hubby sits through the entire meeting with me.

Luckily, Jennifer Miller a.k.a. Jennifer Haymore was fabulous. The topic was deep editing, something I’m heavily into right now, and I can’t tell you how much I learned on Sunday…well, I would, but I’ve spent so much time writing about the trip there that I’ll have to tell you more about deep editing next week. I will tell you that it was more than worth every minute of the trip. I can say that, now that I’m safely home sitting at my computer!

So we leave the meeting, the one I’ll tell you about next week, and the car starts up fine. The Torrential Downpour has yet to let up, and we decide to drive a little way down Ventura Boulevard to see how it will run. It doesn’t get too far before it starts acting up again, so we pull into the parking lot of the World Famous Carney’s Restaurant, and if they weren’t world famous before I’m sure they will be now, because I just blogged about them. Did I mention they’re in a train? So, I suggest we call AAA. After all, that’s why we pay for the card every year and pay extra so that they will tow us all the way from Studio City to San Pedro…which is currently falling into the ocean…. But, of course, my hunky husband says, “No. Let’s have some lunch and if the rain slows down, I’ll take a look under the hood.”

Now, hunky hubby really is an ace mechanic, but we aren’t in his garage. We are in The Valley during a Torrential Downpour (I’m not kidding, Torrential Downpour just like in a story!) and I am now not only massively paranoid (read certifiably paranoid), but I’m hungry, so I simply say, “Okay.”

After a burger, chili fries and soda…look, I know they’re famous for their hot dogs, but I wanted a burger…it is still raining heavily (Torrential Downpour I’m telling you) but hunky hubby still vetos AAA. So we spend a little time shopping in the nearby strip mall. An hour or so and a couple of credit card transactions later, the Torrential Downpour decides to let up, momentarily. The car starts and runs fine, so hunky hubby decides to try driving home. Paranoid wife, much to hunky hubby’s dismay, refuses to be on the freeway in Los Angeles in a potential Torrential Downpour in a car that isn’t running properly, so hunky hubby sucks it up and takes surface streets home…from The Valley all the way to San Pedro…which is still sliding into the ocean!

We don’t get far before the car starts acting up again, which hunky hubby maintains is due to driving too slowly on surface streets…and of course the Torrential Downpour returns. As we get closer to home…and out of some ‘not so nice’ areas of Los Angeles, we decide to give the car a break and stop at a grocery store to buy Thanksgiving groceries, because clearly I won’t be driving anywhere to shop after this. I start to fill my cart with groceries and the power goes out in the store. We continue shopping, and just as a store employee approaches us to tell us that we must leave the warm dry store, the power is restored. Phew! We finish the shopping, but the car still isn’t running right. Imagine that. But of course, we are nearly home now, so AAA just isn’t going to happen.

Wait, what does this have to do with writing? Oh, yeah, I went to the wonderful LARARWA meeting and heard the very entertaining and truly informative speaker Jennifer Miller a.k.a Jennifer Haymore, who you really deserve to hear about but will now have to wait until next week. Really, I promise to share some of her tips on deep editing.

(This column was previously published at Fact to Fiction, but it’s one of my favorite posts, so I thought I’d share it here as well. Coincidentally, Jennifer Haymore will be speaking again at LARA February 16th. I think I need to go…..as long as there is no rain in the forecast!)

Words on Wednesday- Getting Back into Characte

In Uncategorized, writing on January 29, 2014 at 6:55 am

There are two kinds of writers, as my writer friends already know, plotters and pantsers. Plotters of course plot their story out. They know what’s going to happen before they begin writing. Pantsers….well, they do everything by the seat of their pants. Now there are many variations on these two styles of writing, but those are the root styles and most writers lean toward one category or the other.

beachWhen I write magazine or newspaper articles, I’m an outliner, the nonfiction equivalent of a plotter. I know what my main points will be, and I work within a solid structure. I’ve always said that the structure actually gives me the freedom to be creative with my writing.

When I write fiction……I’m a total pantser. For me the story happens in my head. The characters talk to me, and I grab a 10 cent blue BIC® pen and a spiral notebook and let them tell me the story. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s the way I work.     waves

After putting my book aside for a year while I worked full time at the sewing store, I’m back to work editing and expanding the story. The editing part is going well, the expanding part …not.

The first draft of my story was done before I took the full time job….or so I thought. I had some excellent input, in fact amazing input, but I was told the romance book that I had written wasn’t a romance, it was women’s fiction with romantic elements. This means nearly doubling the original word count.

Adding words does not come naturally to me. After more than fifteen years writing non-fiction, where the mantra is ‘cut the fluff’, it’s hard to add words, in fact I often find myself cutting more than I add.  It was going okay before my one year foray into the ‘real job’ world, but a year later, I’m having difficulty getting in touch with my characters again.

DSCI0064 - CopyI’m going to try a few tricks that have worked in the past, writing a letter to Randi, my main character, and having her write back, or maybe I’ll start a diary for her.

You know, Randi is young, she’d probably have a facebook page, maybe I should start one for her. Or maybe now is the time to switch into plotting gear, and use what I’ve written as an outline?

What do you think? I could use a little help here!! Oh and if you’re wondering what the beach pictures are about, Randi lives by the beach in the South Bay. (That’s Los Angeles South Bay….we have one too!)

Words on Wednesday- Before You Hit Send

In Uncategorized, writing on January 22, 2014 at 7:25 am

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I’m writing today’s post at the risk of public editing. It’s okay, go ahead, I can take it.

Saturday, the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writer’s of America (Occ Rwa) hosted a workshop with Carina Press Editor, Angela James. Before You Hit Send is a seven hour intensive workshop on self-editing. That’s right, not only did I voluntarily spend seven hours listening to a lecture on punctuation, capitalization, adjectives, adverbs and dangling participles….but I paid for it. For the second time. (And yes, I do know this is a sentence fragment.)

The first class I took with Angela, was a three week online workshop on the same subject. It was so fantastic, that I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to attend her live workshop.

I came home energized and ready to confidently and mercilessly take my red pen to my manuscript.

I love her philosophy on grammar rules, her respect for writer’s and their work, and the fact that she not only gave me permission to do some reading, but she said it was a job requirement. (I love this job.)

This is not the English class we took in high school, or even the class you took to fulfill your ‘generals’ in college. Before You Hit Send isn’t about strictly applying rules to every sentence you write.

This workshop is about learning how to intelligently and confidently, make the words you love come to life. How to use grammar to give your story the magic you always knew could be there.

Needless to say, I’m an Angela James fan, and will sign up for her next workshop.

And thank you Occ Rwa for bringing Angela back to Orange County!!

So, go ahead, let me have it. Tell me about my misplaced commas, overuse of exclamation points, and of course, my favorite…run on sentences.

I’m ready, bring it on…….

And Now Folks, Back to My ‘Real Life’…..

In habits, Life Essays, writing on November 18, 2013 at 7:01 am

Anyone who reads my blog regularly….okay, no one has been able to read my blog regularly because as I realized this morning I’ve only written one blog post in the last year.

I wrote the last statement and had to go back and check because I didn’t really believe it, I always have so much to say, but it’s true. I’ve only posted one entry. I apologize for my neglect, because I know you’re all just waiting for the next little tidbit that happens in my life.

So let me catch things up. I had a goal, actually several goals, losing weight (I know I said I wouldn’t make that resolution again, but as they say, ‘old habits’) finishing my book, and selling our townhouse and buying a single family home…… the last goal being the most difficult because of the tough housing market. Okay, none of those were easy goals.

I’ve gained weight, done little with my book, but we managed to sell our townhouse at a profit and buy a cute little fixer upper that is not attached to anyone and now I can as I say, ‘get back to my real life’. I didn’t quit my job, although the new manager probably wishes I did, because I might be treating her like my daughter. I’m trying hard to catch myself, but I’m not sure how well I’m doing. I told her she could fire me and my feelings won’t be hurt, but she’s much too sweet. Luckily for her I’m only working one day a week and most of them we won’t be together. I know she’ll do a great job, probably better than me, she’s young, smart and very quick.

I always think my life is crazy, but this year, has been insane. I don’t even know where it went between working full time as a manager of a store with five to six employees….who would give me employees? After nearly twenty-four years of not holding a ‘real’ job. I felt like I’d jumped into the deep end of the pool and forgotten how to doggie paddle.

But I learned. I learned to tread water, and then I was actually doing some swimming, metaphorically of course, because there’s no way I’m wearing a bathing suit right now, although, swimming is my favorite form of exercise, maybe if I go to the pool when there’s no one there….is there a time when no one is there?

The point is, I’ve been working like a crazy person, then in May our realtor, the amazing Leslie Stetson of Prudential Realty (we highly recommend her) sent me an e-mail saying “It’s time.” She knew of course that we wanted to move. So we got the house ready in record time. Put it on the market on June the 10th, had our first showing on June the 12th, had a full price offer on June 13th, showed once more on June 14th, had a little bidding war over the weekend and our house was in escrow on June17th. One week from listing to escrow. Yes, it really happened that way.

Now we had to find a new home, and pack to be ready to move out by July the 22nd. Yes, July the 22nd. And did I mention that Paul and I were working nowhere near the same hours. More craziness ensued.

We began house hunting. Okay, the truth is that I’ve been watching the market and ‘house hunting’ from the minute we moved back to California from Wyoming. Although our little townhouse was very nice, and had a peak-a-boo ocean view from every floor (did I mention that there were three floors? Yes three flights of stairs for laundry or groceries or anything else that needed to go up and down) and then there was the roof top patio…..the truth is, that we really wanted a single family home with a little yard.

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So, we made a couple of offers, but things were selling fast, and for more than they were listed for, just like ours had, but then we found this little fixer upper. Livable, but needing some love, we made an offer on July the 3rd and by the 5th it was accepted. Our realtor, Leslie Stetson, was amazing, as was our lender. Everything got kicked into high gear, and we packed, signed papers, moved things to storage, signed papers, worked like crazy people, signed papers, closed escrow July 22nd on the townhouse, signed more papers, stayed in 3 different hotels for the next 10 days (a story for another day) signed papers, and finally took possession of our new little house on July 31st. How our amazing realtor and lender made that happen I’m not quite sure. Yes, do the math, they managed to close escrow on a house in twenty six days, in Los Angles.

We have had little social life for most of the last year, and none the last six months. I tried to write at the beginning of the job, but I suddenly had employees and a very high learning curve, and then of course selling a house, signing papers, buying a house, signing papers and moving, moving, moving.

I stepped down as manager the end of October. I really have to tell you that the one thing I think I did right at my ‘real’ job, was putting together an amazing team. The ladies I work with are incredible, and I feel very lucky to know them and work with them.

Here I am, not quite settled in our new little house, kitchen remodeling going on (another fun story I’ll have to share), hanging laundry on a clothesline because there is no gas line yet for a dryer, still living out of boxes, but I haven’t stopped smiling for weeks. Okay, maybe there have been moments here and there, but life is pretty good.

I’m writing. Next official goal is to finish this book and start number two.

I’d also like to reinstate my social life……if I still have any friends??

 

 

Where are you from?

In contest, Life Essays, poetry, writing on August 23, 2012 at 9:04 am

So, I’m stealing this from author, Jenny Hansen at her blog  Cowbell-You Need More of It, who got the idea and template from author, Sharla Lovelace’s Blog, although it was shared by debut author, Laura Drake on The Morning Juice, an OCC RWA writing loop…and whether you love to write, or just love to read you should come to a meeting, it’s an amazing group….and don’t forget to go “like” Laura Drake’s new facebook author page!!! (You all do know I’m the Queen of Run On Sentences right?) And by the way, there is a much longer chain of sharing. If you google ‘Where I am From’, you will find lots of links to this popular writing exercise, which came from a poem by George Ella Lyon. You’ll find a copy of the template at Sharla’s blog. It’s so easy to use…it’s like a poetry Mad Libs.

I love this exercise, and I challenge all of my readers, friends and family…..writer’s and non writer’s to do it…and please share it with me if you do. If you’re willing, I’ll post those that people share right here. In fact, let’s make it a contest! Everyone who does the exercise and posts it or sends it to me so I can post it will be entered in a random drawing for an autographed book from one of my favorite authors! And everyone who leaves a comment on this post….or any of the posts where I share your “Where are you from?” entries  between August 23, 2012 and September 15, 2012  will be entered in a random drawing for another autographed book. I’ll announce the winners on Monday, September 17th, 2012 and the winner must respond and send me their mailing address by September 30th,  2012 or a new winner will be selected. Winner must live in the United States.

Go to Jenny and Sharla’s pages for some inspiration.

So here’s my poem:

Where I’m From

I am from stacks of books from Kool Aid and grilled cheese sandwiches, French fries and ice cold Cokes at the Newberry’s lunch counter.

I am from the harvest gold, 1970’s tri-level house, with a gas lamp by the sidewalk outside my bedroom window that I used to sneak and read books from, no fences, no sidewalks and a gravel road.

I am from the damp sand and cool ocean breezes along the pacific, that make you forget the traffic and chaos, the golden Ohio cornfields, that symbolize what is real and wholesome .

I am from  sweet sugar cookie baking with old tin cookie cutters and Rose, from Bud (yes that’s Rosebud) and two younger brothers that I played with, fought with read to and learned from and from a family that can trace it’s roots in America to the Revolutionary War.

 

I am from the deep stubbornness of never giving up and the gentleness of holding a tiny baby in your arms and seeing hope for the future.

From ‘”Wait ‘til your father gets home” and “Don’t make me spank you”….and he only did once, and it really did “hurt him more than it hurt me” although I cried buckets of tears.

I am from small town Sunday school, Summer Bible Camp at various protestant churches in a small Amish/Mennonite town, Baptist Church with my high school boyfriend, my best Sunday dress and traditional hymns….”Jesus loves me”.

I’m from Los Angeles, tacos and sushi, yes I am a native, and from Uniontown, Ohio, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, Christmas tamale’s that we make with our aunts, uncles and cousins because it wouldn’t be Christmas without them, and really it’s just another excuse to get together, because we don’t do it often enough.

From the feisty, sign painter for Food Giant,  writer for the Akron Beacon Journal, mother of 13, Milly, who made all my dresses for kindergarten on her treadle sewing machine, stood just  5’2” with blonde hair, blue eyes, and you didn’t want to mess with her, but you did want to stand on a chair and wait for donut holes while she fried fresh donuts (do you see any resemblance there?) and Maclovia, who changed her name to Maxine, sang in nightclubs until she met a magician and had 6 children, taught me to embroider by hand, and finally went to Israel as she always dreamed. And from my Tia Tonia, who was like a third grandmother to me and refused to teach me to make her delicious homemade tortillas because if I knew how “someday, some man would make me make them every day” and she loved me too much for that. But, every time I eat a fresh tortilla I wish she’d taught me to make them.

I am from albums, walls and mantel tops (even computer files) of photographs, some fading, faster than I can scan them into my computer, from shoe boxes with one grandmother’s old eyeglasses and a copper bracelet, and the antique butter dishes from another, the tea set my mother pieced together as a young bride, the tea set my mother gave me as a child…the tea set she gave me just five years ago, that I always say I’m going to use, but never do because I’m afraid to break them…even though there are some chips here and there from life. But, now I’m going to plan a tea party with my favorite women because what good are tea sets you don’t use?

Now, I hope you’ll tell me……where are you from?

And the Winner is!! (And a New Contest!!)

In book signings, books, contest, Uncategorized, writing on May 21, 2012 at 8:37 am

I’m so excited. This is the first contest that I’ve held at Tari’s Thread….. well, at least for my readers. The 2011 Easter Egg Decorating Contest was for my friends and family, and so many of you were wonderful about participating in the voting!! I’d really like to do that again.

But the Good Food, Good Health Contest was for my readers. Many of whom also happen to be family and friends in my actual life, and those of you who are becoming friends here on the internet! Thank you to all who left comments here. I appreciate all of the e-mail comments, facebook comments and twitter comments as well, but to win, you had to leave a comment here at Tari’s Thread.

So, I wrote all of the names on a piece of paper and put them into a paper lunch bag (I know, but it was an OFFICIAL paper lunch bag). I grabbed one of my guys…the one who happened to be home when I was ready to do the drawing. I won’t give his name….one of you will want to hug him, but the others may not feel so generous….and I had him draw a name.

THE WINNER IS: Gloria Stefani

Please contact me at  ohwrite@yahoo.com with your mailing address by May 31st, write Tari’s Thread Movie Ticket Winner in the subject line (this way I don’t think it’s spam!) and I’ll send you two gold AMC movie tickets. If I don’t hear from you by May 31st, I’ll be drawing another winner from my very official paper bag!!

In the meantime, this was a great way to get people involved in conversation, so I’m going to have another contest. I am a voracious reader….well, before kids and homeschooling and writing my own novel, I was a voracious reader, now I keep a book on me to sneak in a few pages whenever I can, but the point is that I love books and reading, and I’m hoping that all of you feel the same way.

So for the next contest I’ll be giving away two autographed books by a couple of my favorite authors. To win, you must leave a comment here at Tari’s Thread on any post written from today May 21st through Saturday June 30th. Two winners will be drawn and the names will be announced on June 2nd. The winner must submit their mailing address to me by email by July 16th  (instructions will be posted with the winners name), or a new winner will be drawn for their prize. Winners must live in the United States. All decisions are final.

Jill Sorenson, Tessa Dare, DeAnna Cameron, Dee J Adams…some of my favorite authors at 2012 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Thank you all for reading and participating. If the autographed book contest is popular, I will be doing it again. I am attending the Romance Writers of America 2012 Conference at the end of July, and will have the opportunity to collect autographed books from a huge number of authors from various genres, so I hope this is a prize that you will all enjoy!! So keep those comments coming and feel free to suggest new topics of conversation in your comments!!

Dancing at The Chance

In book signings, books, Uncategorized, writing on May 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I’ve always imagined Stephen King tapping out his manuscripts on an IBM Selectric (with automatic correction…not that he needs it) in a dark room of a rambling mansion fingers flying, typewriter carriage dinging when he gets to the end of each line…pages flying about at warp speed…some of you may be too young to know what I’m saying here, but watch an old movie, you know from the early 80’s. Anne Rice I picture in black swirling robes, writing by candle light in a castle tower…… Phillipa Gregory, well I see her in courtly attire, with a quill and ink well, elegantly dipping then smoothly stroking line after line across beautifully hand crafted paper… I know this is ridiculous, but this is the way I imagine other writers writing…although on any given day, you will find me in a pair of jeans and a cotton blouse, barefoot (or in sandals because they make me wear shoes at the library) filling page after page of a wide ruled notebook with a blue ten cent pen, unless I’m editing and typing my work into the computer…..not nearly as glamorous as the way I imagine other writers working

But then I met author DeAnna Cameron at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and I picked up an autographed copy of her latest book, Dancing at The Chance. DeAnna is warm and full of life, as are the characters she writes about in this beautiful turn of the century tale. I can see DeAnna dressed in Victorian skirts and corseted, her lush red hair adorned with feathers and fluff as she hand pens her latest story.

And let me tell you, this is a book you will want to read. The characters come to life, dancing across the pages of her book, letting the reader experience vaudeville from backstage, to center stage, back of the theater to front row center, the dark and unrefined side, to the family like camaraderie of  an art that was on the brink of extinction…and of course there are secrets and romance.

Now the truth is, that I have no idea what DeAnna wears when she writes, but I have seen her dressed in period costume at the Steampunk Shimmy Showcase at  Viento y Agua Coffeehouse in Long Beach a couple of weeks ago. DeAnna and her dashing husband could have stepped right off the cover of one of her books, and among the pictures my own hunky hubby took, was one that might have been a cast picture from Dancing at The Chance.

Whatever DeAnna wears when writing, I would love to see a sequel to Dancing at The Chance…perhaps Second Chance at The Chance??? In the meantime, I’ll be reading her first book, The Belly Dancer and hoping she’s writing faster than I’m reading.

How do you imagine writers at work? Or do you even think about the writer? Are they a shadowy background figure? Or are you entirely lost in the pages? (Which I am when I read a good book.)

It’s time for me to get back to work on my manuscript….and I’ll be wearing a 1920’s flapper dress with bouncy fringe, seamed stockings and a feather fascinator while I write…really I will!

New Bookstore, Great Authors…and Tres Leches Cake on a Tuesday!

In book signings, books, bookstores, Uncategorized, writing on May 2, 2012 at 9:10 am

So my hunky hubby, Paul took me to a book signing/book launch at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in Redondo Beach last night. I know, I know, I just attended the Los Angeles times Festival of Books, I really didn’t need another book to read….but are there ever really enough books? Besides, I love listening to what other writers have to say about their writing process, how their minds work, and how it all ends up on paper…or computer, not everyone writes their full manuscript on spiral notebooks with 10 cent pens like I do. Really I do.

Anyway, I think it’s important for writers to support each other and learn from each other, and when my friend, author Louisa Bacio sent out an invitation for the book signing, I thought it would be fun to go. Plus, it was at a new bookstore, a local bookstore …a really fabulous bookstore that I needed to check out. Did I mention there was wine, beer and tres leches cake?? Let me say right here that I didn’t touch any of it, I was good and ate ahead of time and stuck to my healthy plan. Ask Hunky Hubby, it’s true.

But, what a great conversation! Lisa Brackman, author of Getaway and Dana Fredsti, author of Plague Town, happen to be sisters.  Yes, sisters who write, sisters who are published, and sisters with much the same childhood background….but sisters who tell very different stories, at least in print.

Lisa writes fast paced contemporary thrillers, while Dana’s latest book is a zombie story with a touch of romance.

But, as sisters often do, they have a lot in common. They both give their mother as a major influence on their writing, or rather “a huge interactive part of their writing”.  When asked if they outlined their books both answered ‘no’. This makes me happy, because I can’t write the outline for my fiction until the story is written…. I don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens either…. Non-fiction, I always outline first, but fiction, nope, I write by hand as it happens in wide ruled spiral notebooks with 10 cent pens, really that’s how I write.

So anyway, both sisters are smart and witty, and they obviously have a strong bond. Both are talented, successful writers and an inspiration to those of us still working on that first novel.

I didn’t drink wine, and I didn’t eat cake, but I did indulge my book habit and picked up a copy of Lisa’s book Getaway, and Dana’s book Plague Town. So I guess I was a little naughty, but not really…I mean, after all, reading is good for you!!

What’s sitting on your nightstand waiting to be read? Which authors do you love to hear speak? How many of you have a novel you’ve written hidden in your bottom drawer? Or just an idea for a book you’d like to write?

Tell me in the comment section below…I’d love to know…